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Google Penguin and Your Website Navigation

It's Independence Day in the US, a day when Americans should reflect on what it took for the original colonies to stand up and form a new nation. From coast to coast there are patriotic displays of red, white, and blue, parades, fireworks, and families and friends gathered together for backyard barbeques.

Since many of you are probably getting ready for your own outdoor celebration I'll make today's Daily Golden Nugget brief.

I was poking through Google Webmaster Tools over the weekend and I realized that Google is showing more of your internal navigation links within the report "Links to Your Site > How your data is linked." In the past this report was a good place to see how people were linking to you from other websites, but now it's also reporting your internal navigation.

For most websites I track the following common words and phrases are within the top 20 spots on the report:

* home
* directions
* about us
* testimonials
* privacy policies

Other common phrases between many retail jewelry sites include:

* engagement rings
* pandora jewelry
* diamond rings

When the Google Penguin filter began in April 2012 most jewelry websites were not penalized. The ones that were penalized had a heavy concentration of 3 word phrases within the top 50 spots on the report. Some of these phrases included:

* pave engagement rings
* custom engagement rings
* diamond engagement rings
* diamond wedding rings
* diamond wedding bands

My collected data shows that these above phrases were used as the navigation links for the websites in question, and they also had thousands of backlinks using these phrases as anchor text.

I have to do more long term tracking on this, but it sure seems like your own internal linking and website navigation is being counted against you when you use your navigation for repetitive keywords.

It looks like these links would be bad:
- Round Diamond Engagement Rings
- Princess Diamond Engagement Rings
- Oval Diamond Engagement Rings

But a structure like this would be good:
- Engagement Rings (main category)
---Round Diamond (sub category)
---Princess Cut Diamond (sub category)
--- Oval Diamond (sub category)

The bottom line conclusion for today's Daily Golden Nugget is to keep your website navigation simple. The next time you redesign your website you should create navigation links that tell your users what they are clicking on without repeating yourself.

For those of you in the USA, enjoy the fireworks. For the rest of you, Happy Hump Day.
AT: 07/04/2012 08:20:38 PM   LINK TO THIS GOLD NUGGET
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